Once again proving his value to the US Senate, the (frequently mentioned today) Honorable Zell Miller was one of the few Democrats to break the party line and vote against making Iraq pay us back for reconstruction.
Why is this a bad idea? The question came up weeks ago at FreeSpeech:
Here's a reason: we have no authority to impose the demand.That still stands. On whom are we imposing this demand? Who in Iraq has the authority to indebt the Iraqi people? The Coalition Provisional Authority? Are we promising ourselves to pay back the money out of their revenue? That is called theft, not debt repayment.
International agreements like this require a treaty. Even in the case of war reparations, which are enforced upon a successor government (e.g. those required of the Weimar Republic by the Treaty of Versailles), have to be agreed upon by treaty. Congress has no authority to legislate for the Iraqi government.
A law passed by the US Congress requiring a future Iraqi government to pay us money is an empty law. It would be like Congress passing a law requiring France to disband--it has no authority, no standing to make the law. Congress could make a law requiring the President to pursue negotiations with the future Iraqi government toward getting our money back, but the Iraqi government--when it is constituted--shall be sovereign and may negotiate or not as it wills.
Of course, in the real world, we could use the presence of troops and the threat of sanctions to force them to sign. That isn't how you build a free society, though, or a friendly one. If Iraq is to be free, it must be free. If it is to be an ally, it must be treated as a friend.
Or is it the Iraqi Governing Council? Are we giving them that kind of authority, before there is a constitution, before there have been elections? Why then have we been fighting the French at the UN over the issue of who is in charge?
This plan is dishonorable, illegal, and ill-considered. Shame on the Senate.